Deep and Crisp and Uneven   15 comments

A reference to my surprise on seeing a clear blue sky day with a helping of patchy snow after waking up at 6am the previous day to go to work and finding a temperature of 12C and a day filled with mild patchy rain.

Solo again while the family did other stuff and a revisit to a surprisingly quiet corner of the Brecon Beacons. Surprising as it overlooks the busy A470 and the parking chaos of the summit of the road at the Storey Arms. On a good day there must be 200 plus cars parked up there ready for the pilgrimage to the summit of Pen y Fan. I parked up for my walk a couple of miles down the road with one other car. Local knowledge is a handy thing


Craig Cerrig Gleisiad and Fan Fawr was my route. It was a wonderful crisp clear morning, icy puddles and frosty mud was underfoot. The path that traverses across the bottom of the corrie was delightful



The bare trees shorn of their leaves always attract my eye and lens


The views down the valley to Brecon and the Black Mountains was magnificent



The path emerges suddenly onto the shoulder below Fan Frynych. Expansive views open out over the mid-Wales countryside


Up on to the grassy moorland and the first few patches of snow underfoot


The sky was dramatically blue and clear and the light through the trees was still catching my attention



Up on the summit it was just magnificent. Such an exceptional clarity in the air contrasting with the pristine and untouched white snow



Traversing over the summit of Fan Frynych was majestic. You just eat up the miles on a day like this




Sticking close to the edge of the dark vegetated cliffs gives extensive panoramas


But then you have to cross the vast expanse of open moorland to reach Fan Fawr. Its wet here. Very wet. Especially after a couple of days of heavy rain. There was lots of icy coverings but not enough to walk over without plopping in from time to time


I consoled myself with the wonderful peace, quiet and isolation of this patch of wild land so close to a major road. I had it completely to myself


I climbed to the summit without pause hoping for a sunny spot out of the wind. The views were still grand but the wind was keen. I was hungry and so headed down towards the main road madness




I spotted a sunny patch that looked like it might be sheltered. It was perfect. Calm and sunny enough to deliver some warmth for a well earned lunch break and hot cuppa


You can get a sense of just how many cars there are down by road in the photo below. As I’d I only seen a few people on Fan Fawr I assume all the occupants were on Pen y Fan. I had reminder of what kind of people frequent “the highest mountain in South Wales” on a sunny day. As I crossed the road there was a large group of brash noisy and spectacularly under-equipped people heading off to climb Pen y Fan (jeans, trainers and the like) – it was already after 2pm and its at least a 3 hour round trip to the top. One particularly irritating individual – lets call him Dick – seemed to love the sound of his own voice and humour and repeated the same line – loudly – over and over again to emphasis how side splittingly funny it was (something about how unforgiving the mountain was). I could still hear him from several hundred yards away. His companions all seemed deeply unenthusiastic about being “dragged out” but they started up the hill anyway. A complete contrast to the few pleasant and chatty people I’d met on the “other side” who were all entranced by a such a stunning morning. I think this little rant makes me a mountain snob but I don’t care


I headed down the Taff trail to head back to car. Once Dick, and his friends were out of earshot all was peaceful again. Its a rather nice walk with good views down the valley and across to the crags where I’d been in the morning. A nice change of scene from wild moors and mountains to something more pastoral


The little sting in the tail, a very steep few hundred feet back up to the road, made me work for my supper



A short day – I was done by 3pm – but it was more than enough to enjoy a spectacular morning and some wild untamed land no more than 20 minutes walk from the road


15 responses to “Deep and Crisp and Uneven

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  1. I loved every moment of this, except for the noisy idiots. As you said, a spectacularly beautiful day – dusting of snow and clear blue skies for most of the time, wow!


  2. Nice photos! Which camera do you typically use on your walks? Cheers, Bastian

    2017-02-09 21:57 GMT+00:00 surfnslide :

    > surfnslide posted: “A reference to my surprise on seeing a clear blue sky > day with a helping of patchy snow after waking up at 6am the previous day > to go to work and finding a temperature of 12C and a day filled with mild > patchy rain. Solo again while the family did other s” >


    • These were taken with my DSLR (Canon EOS 60D with a Sigma 18-250 Lens) which I use on day walks when the weather is settled. I have a Peak Camera Systems clip on my rucksack shoulder strap that attaches to a fitting on the tripod mount so I can keep the camera outside my pack. On wetter days I use an Olympus TG4 “Tough” camera. A compact point and shoot that’s waterproof. I also sometimes use my iPhone 6s


  3. Lovely to be outdoors on such a sunny day and have expansive view to yourself! Yeah, I too get annoyed by what I call “great white hikers” – folks who are loud, leave trash, and are disrespectful to the other people. There’s tons of them in the Columbia River Gorge in the summer – which is why I avoid it and head to the mountains.


    • Awesome day and pleased I made the effort when I nearly stayed in bed! There seems to be some sort of “pride” in climbing well known hills/mountains regardless as to whether its something you enjoy or not. We are seeing some real problems with these sorts of people. Its great to see people getting outside and enjoying what the mountains have to offer but they all too often simply don’t have the respect for the environment. Careless parking, damage and worst of all litter.


  4. Great photos, looks like a classic day out, aside from your brush with ‘Dick’ and his ilk. Isn’t it best for the mountain snobs if Dick and co do insist on climbing Pen Y Fan over and over and leaving the rest to the connoisseur? The most obvious similar example around here are the three peaks – if you make the mistake of climbing them on the popular routes, in the middle of the day, in summer.


    • I’m not sure why I found this particular encounter so annoying. They never actually noticed me and I was in pretty high spirits at the time. I guess it was the very sudden stark contrast between the quiet route I’d taken and the madness of the Storey Arms. This guy was like the bloke in the campsite as Wasdale a few years back – only 10 x louder and more irritating. I normally encounter these groups on the summit when they always look deeply unhappy, cold and wet (or overheated) so I guess I take some pleasure in their discomfort. I’m a very bad person.

      Assume you are off skiing tomorrow – have a fantastic time and keep the DBs in hand – look forward to some photos and vids


  5. Days like this is why you walk, cold, crisp and blue skies. Great photos


  6. Looks a good area. I’ve not been down that far into Wales, Just short of Cader Idris from the north and the Church Stretton district on the Welsh border there. It’s certainly been an unusual winter this year for up and down temperatures.


    Blue Sky Scotland
    • The mountains down here lack dramatic crags and narrow ridges but they have an austere beauty that I’ve come to love since they became my local hills. This range is tucked between the Brecon Beacons and the the Black Mountain, the two better known area yet hardly anyone seems to walk them. They are tough going with lots of tussocks and bog but rewarding if you make the effort


  7. Wonderful looking day!


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